Ex-journo Ridzwan A. Rahim confident of conquering ‘Redang Challenge’

Ridzwan A. Rahim fuelling up.

Marathon swimmer Ridzwan A. Rahim is confident he can conquer the ‘Redang Challenge’ when he sets out on his solo swim from Redang Island to the Terengganu mainland tonight.

The former journalist, now a technical writer, narrowly failed to complete the challenge last year, abandoning the attempt 6km from the finish line after completing 30km of what was supposed to be a 25km swim.

Ridzwan said he is better prepared this year and knows what to expect after being lashed by 1.5m high waves and seven-knot winds a year ago.

“I am a bit more relaxed this year compared to the first attempt a year ago,” said Ridzwan, the first person to swim from Pulau Perhentian Kecil to Besut in Terengganu.

“The team is confident as we learnt a lot from a year ago and have worked hard to correct the mistakes.

“One of the major problems last year was ‘salt mouth’ (the effect of salt build up on the tongue, mouth and throat due to prolonged exposure in the ocean). We have a plan to counter this.”

He said the team revised its expectations about the swim and predicted he would cover 35-40km to achieve his goal.

“It is only 25km from Redang to the mainland, but once you are in the water, you cannot swim in a straight line,” said Ridzwan, who swam from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco City in 2015 and 2016.

“Last August, the sea was choppy, but we are confident it would be calmer when we set out at 9pm. I have almost the same crew as last year. I am confident we can set the record.”

Meanwhile, Ridzwan announced a partnership with Project Life Aquatic and Universiti Malaysia Terengganu Institute of Oceanography and Environment (INOS UMT).

Project Life Aquatic is a five-year project anchored by the Malaysian-Japan International Institute of Technology (MJIIT) of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. It aims to uplift Malaysia’s water safety, swimming and lifesaving education to world-class standards.

Project Life Aquatic conducts its ‘Swim & Survive Malaysia’ course every Monday at Pusat Akuatik Darul Ehsan in Shah Alam.

The course is to help participants overcome their fear of deep water.

INOS UMT helped Ridzwan gather marine data and advice for his swim.

“On the surface, this may look like an unlikely partnership as Project Life Aquatic caters almost exclusively to non-swimmers, while Perhentian Channel Swim speaks to experienced athletes,” said Ridzwan.

“But our objectives align as we believe there is no substitute for an ability to tread water or to stay afloat long enough to be rescued, especially in activities such as triathlon, open water swimming and scuba diving. It is a grossly underrated skill. Lots of people only talk about drowning prevention. Project Life Aquatic takes action.”

Ridzwan said his team hopes INOS UMT can help them discover the optimal route for the gruelling swim across the Redang Channel.

“This is in addition to the advice we are getting from the local boat skippers,” he said.

“Although the straight line distance between Redang and the mainland is 25km, the shortest route may not be the quickest or easiest.

“We hope this is the start of our long-term outdoor learning involving INOS UMT.”

Good luck, Ridzwan, and stay safe.


Eight professional bodies, non-governmental organisations and medical experts have formed Dengue Prevention Advocacy Malaysia (DPAM).

DPAM arrives just in time. Comparing January to May statistics to the same time last year, there is a 158 per cent rise in dengue cases and a distressing 183 per cent increase in the death toll

DPAM aims to synergise efforts by various stakeholders in assisting the Health Ministry to achieve national and global dengue targets by strengthening dengue prevention, management and control in Malaysia.

Aligning with global targets set by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Health Ministry aims to reduce the case fatality rate to zero per cent by 2030.

DPAM consists of the Malaysian Paediatric Association, Malaysian Society of Infection Control and Infectious Diseases, Malaysian Society of Infectious Diseases and Chemotherapy, and Malaysian Public Health Physicians Association, in collaboration with the Malaysian Society of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine, Malaysian Medical Association, Asia-Pacific Academic Consortium for Public Health Kuala Lumpur, and Rotary International District 3300.


My daughter’s school had its annual cross-country race yesterday, and to help students warm up before the run, the school played K-pop songs.

My daughter said it was the first time she remembers seeing everyone excited about warming up.

“They was much laughter, and everyone was moving along to the beat of the songs,” she said.

While not a fan of K-pop, I admire the school’s out-of-the-box thinking to get kids moving.

Thankfully, the heavy rain in Subang Jaya came after the event ended.


If you enjoy motorsports, head to Sepang International Circuit for the second round of the Malaysia Championship Series.

MCS Round 2 has achieved another milestone with the highest number of entries since 2002, boasting 54 cars from four categories. These include drivers from Ecuador, Macau, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Bangladesh, and India.

Fans can catch all the thrilling action at SIC with free entry to the Main Grandstand or watch the live streaming via SIC’s Facebook page.


Spritzer announces the rollout of the company’s latest sustainability initiative, label-free, 100 per cent recyclable bottles, for its natural mineral water, as part of the move towards reducing the use of plastic while minimising the impact on the environment.

The Brussels-based International Taste Institute awarded Spritzer natural mineral water three stars in last year’s Superior Taste Awards.


Do you fancy something healthy yet delicious? Then this recipe is for you.


To end this week’s Diary, we have Dolly Parton with Rockin’, a song she wrote and performed at last year’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The country star initially turned down her induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame but changed her mind when told of her influence on that genre.

After watching the video, it is hard to believe she was two months shy of her 77th birthday on January 19.

Enjoy the song, and stay safe.


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